In the career of a professional musician, they may hope to release 10 albums, maybe even 15 or so if they’re a big name band like Pink Floyd or Guns N’ Roses. Next to none can say they’ve released over 200 and are working on more.
Brian Patrick Carroll, more commonly known as “Buckethead”, has released over 217 studio albums, four specials and one EP over the span of his career. He has also performed on over 50 albums written by other artists including Guns N’ Roses for whom he played guitar from 2000-2004. This multi-instrumentalist can play guitar, bass guitar, banjo, ukulele, piano, keyboard, drums, organ and saxophone; just to name a few.
He has also released albums under the pseudonym “Death Cube K” — which if you haven’t noticed, is just “Buckethead” with the letters rearranged.
What makes Buckethead’s music so special, and quite peculiar, is that it has no vocals. He also isn’t confined to one specific genre. One song may have hardcore metal shreds, while others have slow and soulful jazz runs. All of his songs though, tell a story. He has even written and performed music for movies such as SAW II. Buckethead can do it all.
But why the mask? Why do artists like Slipknot and Buckethead choose to wear masks? Is it a true form of expression, or just a performance trick that looks cool?
In an interview, Buckethead was asked why he hid behind the mask. He simply replied: “there is no mask”.
According to the official Buckethead story, Bria — I mean Buckethead — was raised by chickens. One day these chickens attacked Buckethead, scratching his face. He solved this dilemma by wearing a mask. He spent his days in a chicken coop spying on horror movies being shown in the nearby drive-in movie and playing his little guitar. One day, someone threw a bucket of fried chicken into the coop. Buckethead felt bad for the chicken and tried to put the pieces back together. He decided he must honor his fallen chicken brethren in some way — hence wearing the bucket. Throughout his childhood, he would play his beautiful music in the graveyard and sneak into Disneyland dressed up as a cast member. He wanted to live there, but the staff wouldn’t let him, so instead he opened up his own park, “Bucketland”. For the past 13 years, Buckethead has traveled around playing his guitar and entertaining fans at his theme park and will do so for years to come.
Along with the story comes “The Ballad of Buckethead” written by Buckethead himself and Les Claypool:
He was born in a coop, raised in a cage,
Children fear him, critics rage.
He’s half alive, he’s half-dead
Folks just call him ‘Buckethead’.
While that story and poem are quite odd, there is very little to no other information about who, or what, he is. The only thing we are certain of is that the masked guitar-playing aficionado shrouded in mystery will continue to inspire and move us with his custom all-white Gibson Les Paul guitar for years to come.